Musical Review: Les Misérables

This past week, I went to go see a school musical with my parents. Since this musical was set around the French Revolution, I watched the movie musical with Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway and more. I was very excited to see the musical and had very high expectations. The show was about 2 1/2 hours, which didn’t seem that long.

The musical/story, in short, is about a man, Jean Valjean, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for stealing and attempted escapes. He is eventually released. Many years later, we see him again but as a totally new man-the mayor of the town. He takes in young Cosette whose mother, Fantine, passed from fatigue, stress, and an unidentified disease. Years pass once again, and it’s right before the French Revolution.  By now, Cosette is now much older and is courted by Marius. Jean Valjean can feel his life slowly slipping away from age and decides to go on a “vacation” so that Cosette doesn’t see him passing. He sees the ghost of Fantine and walks with her to see all the people who died in battle, and there the musical ends.

The actors were incredible! All of them could sing so amazingly and had so much emotion evident in their voices. The set designs were on point, all the costumes were so beautiful, and the orchestra pit played so wonderful and added more color to the story. There weren’t any negative opinions that I heard the next day, and I think overall the musical was an amazing success. This was my first school musical and is definitely going to be remembered for a long time.

-Phoebe L.

Les Miserables, in all its formats, is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Cowboys Draft Plan

On Friday, April 13th, the Dallas Cowboys formally parted ways with star WR Dez Bryant. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has come out and stated that the Cowboys do not believe they have a receiver that can come in and completely take over the “WR1” mantle previously held by Dez. This is a sound assumption as there are no real wide receiver prospects in the 2018 draft that look as though they would be home-run picks like Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones. However, there are many receivers that look to be solid WR2 receivers that have the potential to turn into WR1 caliber receivers. The release of Dez Bryant has led to many tying the Cowboys with drafting a WR in the first round. However, the timing of this release seems to state otherwise.

As many teams do not want to give any hints as to what their draft plans may be, the timing of Dez’s release seems intriguing. If the Cowboys really were planning on drafting a receiver at 19 or potentially even trading up in the draft, keeping Dez– business wise– may have been the best move to hide a lack of star receiver power. As a result, it seems as though the Cowboys are not planning on actively pursuing a receiver, but may instead be pointed to drafting a defensive player in the first round to add to their lineup. Furthermore, the signings of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson seem to indicate they are fine with drafting a receiver in some of the later rounds of the draft, as this receiver class, though lacking in star power, has solid options that can be selected in the second and third rounds. With Sean Lee getting a year older and David Irving potentially being suspended to start the season, the Cowboys have more pressing needs at linebacker and defensive tackle and would be in their best interests selecting one of those positions over WR.

-Kobe L.

The Car Plays at Segerstrom

The Car Plays are a set of short scenes acted out by actors and actresses in cars. The audience is one to two people at a time who sit either in the front or the back of the car, depending on where the actors are, who watch the short play unfold before themselves. Some plays were sad, weird plays; some plays were humorous, laugh-out-loud funny.

All of them portrayed great acting abilities by the actors and actresses and demonstrated acting at its core. Many of the scenes were very moving as well as gave the audience the ability to contribute to the scene as characters themselves because of the fact that the audience sits in the same car as the actors and actresses, just feet from the scene being performed. This type of entertainment requires very versatile and accomplished actors and actresses who do not have to simply act to people hundreds of feet away in an enormous auditorium, but a few inches away in a car. Segerstrom put on this event and many people, including myself and my best friend, attended it and were blown away by its brilliance.

-Kyle H.

LA Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

On Monday, April 1st, the Los Angeles Lakers played the Sacramento Kings in the Staples Center, with the Kings coming away with an 84-83 victory. Attending the game in person, I was able to feel the intensity of the atmosphere in the stadium, making the whole experience much more enjoyable. Being able to rejoice with fans over the Lakers making a three-point shot and feeling frustrated at bad calls by the referee, I could feel my general interest in the game much higher than when I usually watch basketball games at home.

First driving up to the stadium, I was taken aback by the sheer number of fans present at the stadium. Though I did expect there to be a lot of people, I was surprised at just how many Lakers fans were in attendance. Entering the stadium, I saw a lot of purple and gold, as well as memorabilia all over. As my family and I settled into our seats, I looked around as saw many different types of fans present at the game. There was anywhere from little babies to more elderly fans, some dressed in normal streetwear, others decked out with Lakers gear. I also saw some Sacramento Kings fans, though they were much less in size than the amount of Lakers fans.

Throughout the game, I cheered with the fans and shouted and clapped along to the songs playing during the game. I eagerly watched the players run up and down the court, taking shots and dunking on others. It was an overall great experience, and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you are a basketball fan or not.

-Kobe L

Bar Mitzvah!

Recently, one of my friends, Zac, turned 13 and explained to me that he was holding something called a Bar Mitzvah. I wondered what that was, because I’d never attended one; I was expecting just a normal birthday party.

After doing some research, I realized that traditionally a Jewish child would participate in a coming-of-age ceremony at 13, called a Bar Mitzvah. I finally understood what the event was now.

My friends and I attended the Bar Mitzvah to celebrate with Zac, and it was such a great experience. There were two parts: The Torah, and then the reception later in the evening. The way the Bar Mitzvah is held is actually really similar to that of a wedding, with the long tables, DJ, dance floor, flower assortments, lights, etc.

I was very impressed in the dedication that Zac put forth in the ceremony. He memorized long Hebrew passages and sang songs to praise Jesus. The ceremony lasted about an hour, where he underwent many different spiritual rituals, like one particular flag-bearing. He did really well, especially while playing his guitar and reading his well-prepared speech. It was also very touching when his parents gave a speech and recognized him as a truly worthy son. Zac told us that he’d spent almost two years, and all that hard work and dedication really paid off!

Finally, the reception was very well put together. There was a lot of dancing (Zac got lifted and twirled up in the air on a chair), and it was all fun. There was ice cream, and three courses that were extremely tasty. The family put a lot of effort in the arrangements and the whole event turned out really well. I really enjoyed this event, and had the time of my life!

-Katherine L.

Films of Character: Local Hero

The state of being one; oneness. That is the definition of unity and nowhere is it more prominent than in the city of Mission Viejo. From the Teen Voice blog to the Community of Character Committee, Mission Viejo embodies what it means to unite its citizens. Every month, the Community of Character Committee chooses an important character trait to focus on. This month’s theme was unity, January’s theme was perseverance, and March’s is integrity. For each character, the committee chooses what events to host that encompasses the idea.

The movie screening this month, Local Hero was about an oil company looking to buyout a coast of land perfect for an oil refinery. The company sent a businessman to represent them and make a bargain with the locals. The townspeople were ecstatic about the idea of so much money at their fingertips when the deal was said and done. What the locals did not understand was that they could’ve been rich but not have anywhere to call home, or they could’ve kept living their lives, just as content as they were before. However, there was a problem when the town found out that Ben, a beach hermit owned the whole beach. No matter how much money the oil company offered him, Ben did not give it up – the beach was his home. In the end, Ben ended up being the hero because he kept the town from their infectious feelings of greed.

In the film, the townspeople showed unity by trying to bargain as one. While Ben was still a part of the community, he stood his ground and didn’t let a little bit of money change his opinions. So why is unity important? It’s important because we are stronger together, as a whole, as one. Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” In any successful community, it is imperative that the citizens are united.

-Brooke H.

Local Hero is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Films of Character: Local Hero

Image result for local hero aurora borealisAfter viewing Local Hero, February’s movie that was shown at City Hall, adjacent to the Mission Viejo Library, I realized that even though some movies may have been made many decades before and have a distinct feel, they still remain contemporary and topical to this day. Local Hero is one of these such movies.

The 1983 movie Local Hero chronicles the journey of a business negotiator, “Mac”, who works for the fantastically rich Knox Oil and Gas headquartered in Houston, Texas. He is sent to a small village in Scotland by the sea by his boss, Mr. Happer, because he suspects that there is a ludicrous amount of oil that could possibly be hidden offshore. His job is to buy the strip of coast, as well as the land four miles inland, which means that the local community would be uprooted.

The reason why Mac is sent there is because he supposedly has Scottish blood due to his “Scottish” last name, MacIntyre, even though he is actually Hungarian. On his way to the village that is a far cry from the hectic city life that Mac is used to, he teams up with Oldsen, who is actually Scottish. Once they arrive in the quaint village filled with many interesting characters, they are surprised to find that the community is actually secretly willing to sell their houses and relocate, possibly due to the many millions of dollars that Mac is offering.

But one thing stands in their way: Ben Knox, a loner that lives in a hovel by the sea, has lived there his entire life and refuses to leave, saying that there is no other place in the world where he can make a living, and nobody to take care of the land.

Things get more complicated as throughout his stay, Mac and Oldsen discover more and more about the area and how beautiful the nature is, begin to fall in love with the local Scottish community, and are soon doubting that buying the land in order to exploit it would be a good idea.

With a surprising plot twist at the end that reveals who the titular character really is, Local Hero has one of the most genuine and well-paced plots that I’ve ever encountered for a movie in its era.

With breathtaking cinematography, decent acting, and a surprisingly remarkable plot line, Local Hero shows that you don’t need a fast-paced plot line, famous actors and actresses, out-of-this-world story, or exceptional special effects to be a classic.

-Michael Z.

Local Hero is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library